ERC grant for research on brain tumours



Cancer researcher Fredrik Swartling has been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept Grant. The EUR 150,000 grant will be used to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools for brain tumours towards future commercialisation.

Fredrik Swartling, associate professor at the
department of Immunology, Genetics and
Pathology. Photo: Maria Swartling

Fredrik Swartling’s research focuses on brain tumours, for which the conventional treatment is radiation and chemotherapy. However, it is common that therapy resistance develops and this is the major cause of death for children and adults with malignant brain tumours. In the funded project, Fredrik Swartling and his team propose a novel diagnostic tool to identify cells that have become resistant to standard treatments of malignant brain tumours.

“Our strategy builds on our previous ERC Starting Grant project. There we identified an accumulation of resting cancer cells in biopsies from operated paediatric brain tumour patients who developed relapses. The resting cells are more resistant to standard therapy than the bulk of tumour cells that often respond well to standard therapy,” says Fredrik Swartling.

Exploring the commercial or societal potential

ERC Proof of Concept grants are intended for researchers who have already received an ERC grant, to allow them to explore the commercial or societal potential of their work.

“We hope our new tools can be used in screening freshly operated cells from brain tumour biopsies, with the intention of better identifying patients at risk of developing severe relapses. The new grant is very welcome and will increase our chances of reaching this goal,” says researcher Sonja Hutter, who is leading the experimental development of the project in Fredrik Swartling’s group.

In total 166 proposals from 21 countries have been granted funding in the call for applications for ERC Proof of Concept grants. Of these, seven grants were awarded to Swedish researchers.

Kerstin Henriksson

ERC Proof of Concept Grants

166 researchers funded by the European Research Council (ERC) have won Proof of Concept Grants. Worth €150,000 each, this top-up funding will help them bridge the gap between the results of their pioneering research and the early phases of its commercialisation. The grants are part of the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe. 

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